Qadhafi’s days are almost over, but how trustworthy are his successors?

Posted on | augustus 22, 2011 | No Comments

The curtain seems to be falling for Muammar al-Qadhafi & sons & entourage) this weekend of 20 and 21 Agust 2011. It means that the Libyan dictator is leaving just a few days before the 42nd anniversary of the coup d’etat that brought him to power on 1 September 1969. 

Juan Cole (blog Informed Comment) has very good summaries of the events of the last few days, to which I refer because I have too much at hand on my Dutch blog (i.e.Israel-Egypt-Gaza) at the moment.

But one remark and a few lines about the possible consequences of Qadhafi’s demise. Should we celebrate? Is it really the birth of a new democracy in the Arab world as some seem to think? Or is it merely the removal – with a lot of help from NATO – of an evil regime to be replaced by another whose quality is dubious to put it mildly? Do we really trust the leader of the Transitional National Council (TNC), Mustafa Abdel Jalil, who before Qadhafi named him minister of Justice in 2007 was the president of a higher court that twice confirmed the death sentence of the Bulgarian nurses who were accused of poisining Libyan children with HIV? Or must we put our trust in a council that contains monarchists, former Qadhafi trustees, islamists and of which 18 of its 31 members are not even known, because they live in territory that till yesterday was still in Qadhafi held territory?

Read, for what I think will be a healthy dose of scepticism, the report that a French commission of inquiry issued in May (in French). For those who don’t master French, there is an English summary here.         

Juan Cole on Sunday
As dawn broke Sunday in Libya, revolutionaries were telling Aljazeera Arabic that much of the capital was being taken over by supporters of the February 17 Youth revolt. Some areas, such as the suburb of Tajoura to the east and districts in the eastrn part of the city such as Suq al-Juma, Arada, the Mitiga airport, Ben Ashour, Fashloum, and Dahra, were in whole or in part under the control of the revolutionaries.

Those who were expecting a long, hard slog of fighters from the Western Mountain region and from Misrata toward the capital over-estimated dictator Muammar Qaddafi’s popularity in his own capital, and did not reckon with the severe shortages of ammunition and fuel afflicting his demoralized security forces, whether the regular army or mercenaries. Nor did they take into account the steady NATO attrition of his armor and other heavy weapons. (Further reading here)

Juan Cole on Saturday
The rebel forces are racking up an impressive series of wins, decisively taking Zlitan, Surman and Brega on Friday into Saturday morning. Qaddafi is increasingly surrounded and cut off from fuel and other supplies. NATO has visited substantial attrition on his heavy weaponry and armor, which he had used to attack his own people. Dissidents in the towns surrounding Tripoli and in the capital itself are reportedly beginning to take heart and to plan their own uprisings and guerrilla actions (….)

In a further sign of the times, former Qaddafi no. 2, Abdel Salam Jalloud, fled Tripoli for Zintan and defected to the rebel side. Jalloud was one of the makers of the 1969 coup in which Col. Qaddafi came to power. (Further reading here)

AUTHOR: Martin Hijmans
E-MAIL: m.hijmans [at]


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